by Pamela Palmer

#49, 15 August 2005

BookThink's Top 10 on eBay
Warm Up to a New Series

data for
July 2005

Top 10 on eBay

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Which fiction and non-fiction books are winners on eBay? This series answers that question and, along the way, looks at the listing strategies sellers use to bring in big bucks. Each month, we'll list the highest final value fiction and non-fiction titles and examine the auctions that showcase them. In By the Numbers, you get a math-eye view of directions and anomalies. Then in early January, we'll look back at the year and consider bookselling trends and highlights.

But first, the rules. Starting next month, we'll list the top ten high-dollar books in both the book fiction and non-fiction categories. Only books and booklets are eligible, so items like those expensive Scientology tape sets are excluded, as are book lots, multiple copies, and unpublished works. Trilogies and small sets are in but large sets are not. When it comes to gray areas, the decision is in the mind of the compilers, but we'll strive for consistency. We'll describe the auctions of the top five in each category.

This month is a warm up to the series and varies from the future format. We are missing data for a couple of days at the first of July and only listed the top five in each category. In addition, we listed selected several other high value sales of general interest.

Starting next month, though, you'll get the full 10 top fiction and 10 top non-fiction to help target your book hunt in the right direction. Let's see, if you sold a copy of the right first edition of Casino Royale today, you could pay for .....

Top Ten on eBay
Fiction's Top 5
July 2005

#1 $9,412.26 Ian Fleming JAMES BOND Casino Royale 1st Edition
#2 $7,500.00 A RAISIN IN THE SUN
#5 $2,111.16 The Lord of the Rings J R R Tolkien *SIGNED and doodled

Selected Fiction Also Rans

$1,401.00 FOUNDATION TRILOGY * Asimov * 1st editions, D/Js
$1,281.00 ROBERT HEINLEIN Farnham's Freehold SIGNED 1ST EDITION
$1,130.00 Salem's Lot Centipede Press Stephen King 1/300 signed

#1 Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

When Ian Fleming looked at his first published James Bond novel, Casino Royale, in the early 1950s, prospects for a buyer paying $9,412.26 for it were slim. But that's just what happened on July 17, 2005 when a Scots seller's auction resulted in the highest priced fiction book to sell that month.

Not just any copy, this is described as "First edition, first state, with dust wrapper, without reviews, original cloth with red title & 'Heart' design on front board. London 1953." The seller notes that 4728 copies were printed and that this copy has a bit missing from the top of the dj and has a wrapper not price clipped plus a few minor flaws.

The auction attracted over 1500 viewers and more important, 13 bids taking it from the starting price of GBP 650 to the final selling price.

#2 A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Propelled by its status as "An authentic first edition autographed hard covered playbook with autographs including Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee, John Fielder, Glynn Turnman, David Susskind, Jan Petrie. Book autographed August 29, 1960." This auction reached its $7,500 price on one bid on July 3, purchased by a buyer with no feedback. The seller kept the auction simple. With one picture, a short canned summary of the play and its history, and no condition statement, the seller bet on the item selling itself. Though winning no style points, the auction did well.

#3 Philip Pullman Trilogy
Northern Lights 1st, 1st, flatsigned
Subtle Knife 1st, 1st flatsigned
Amber Spyglass 1st, 1st flatsigned

These three titles, all flatsigned on the title page, went for $3,518.60 on July 18. Condition notes were included for all three, ranging from near fine to unread and mint. All include the dust jackets in very good to mint condition. One picture suffices to show all three books in djs. Thirty-seven bids brought the price up from a GBP 0.99 starting price.

#4 Philip Pullman Trilogy
Northern Lights
Subtle Knife
Amber Spyglass

Coming in at #4 is the same trilogy in #3 but this time from another seller. These books are listed as "all true first ever printings Nothing added, nothing removed." Offered by a British seller, this auction garnered 25 bids from a GBP 0.01 starting price with no reserve. Condition for each is described in detail with notes on the prices the seller thinks each should bring if sold alone. Four pictures accompany the auction. By the way, the seller missed his estimated value by a significant margin.

#5 The Lord of the Rings, by J R R Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return on the King
plus, a separate Tolkien autograph

Yet another UK seller brings the total to four of the top five fiction sellers in July. Using the same stacked-books-on-left-and-top background as the sellers of #1 and #3, this auction describes the condition of each book in detail. Ten pictures are included, two showing the separate autograph with doodle. Starting at GBP 99.99, the 16 bidders drove the price to GBP1,200 or $2,111.16.

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